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Inclusive Pedagogy Academy to help faculty create inclusive teaching approaches

Published: October 11, 2019 Author: George E. Mauzy Jr.

Ohio University’s Office of Instructional Innovation and the Division of Diversity and Inclusion are co-sponsoring the Inclusive Pedagogy Academy (IPA), a program created to empower faculty to maximize student learning and achievement by enacting inclusive teaching approaches across all disciplines.

Inclusive pedagogy honors and celebrates differences within the classroom by engaging faculty in various approaches to teaching and student engagement.

The Inclusive Pedagogy Academy’s mission is to:

  • Critically engage with, and modify, one’s courses to infuse inclusive pedagogical practices, paying attention to syllabi creation, choice of readings, pedagogy, and/or approach in framing the various identities of those who have created milestones within one’s academic discipline
  • Embed co-curricular student engagement within course requirements
  • Envision the challenges and possibilities for diversity and inclusion within one’s field to consider how learning outcomes can align with intercultural competencies in order to assist student achievement in their careers
  • Provide mentoring and consulting opportunities from both peers and students in curricular redesign
  • Reflect on one’s own positionality, as well as how privilege and oppression may function within the classroom and metrics for assessment
  • Create guidelines for departmental pedagogical approaches that are inclusive of diverse populations with the objective of increased academic achievement and retention of marginalized communities
  • Provide training and guidance for participants invested in changing the curriculum

The 18-month pilot program is led by co-chairs, Dr. Purba Das, associate professor in communication studies at OHIO’s Southern Campus and Dr. Sarah Wyatt, professor in environmental and plant biology and director of the Interdisciplinary Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Program.

Dr. M. Geneva Murray, director of the Women’s Center, and Tim Vickers, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning in the Office of Instructional Innovation, will provide administrative support to the program.

The Inclusive Pedagogy Academy was created by Dr. Gigi Secuban, vice president for diversity and Inclusion, and Dr. Brad Cohen, chief strategy and innovation officer.

Between the Division of Diversity and Inclusion and Office of Instructional Innovation, we have a unique opportunity to diversify the curriculum through this inaugural teaching academy,” said Dr. Secuban. “We are excited to launch this academy in the spring of 2020 and equally excited to see how this work can positively impact the experience of students in the classroom.” 

Dr. Cohen said the University’s new Fearlessly First Strategic Framework prioritizes access and inclusion, student success and transformation.

“We know from decades of research on how people learn, that even small changes in teaching practice can have a dramatic positive impact on learning outcomes across differences,” Dr. Cohen said. “How might we foster broader and deeper student transformation if we intentionally design our courses with inclusivity as a driving consideration? Answering this question is the animating consideration of our new Inclusive Pedagogy Academy, and our expectation is that this faculty-led program will ensure that across our curriculum, we embody our commitment to inclusivity.”

The first IPA cohort will begin meeting in January 2020 and participants will receive $1,000 in a Project Task Award account for professional development.

“When I teach courses I want everyone to do well,” Dr. Wyatt said. “I don’t just say here’s all the material and you are on your own. I try to meet them where they are. I think that is what this program is very much about.”

Dr. Das commented on the timing of the program.

“When I was asked to help with this initiative it made sense because it was one way we could get faculty to think outside the box and incorporate inclusivity and intercultural competence into their courses,” she said. “This is a great time because the University is revising its General Education curriculum for the first time in 40 years and faculty will have to eventually rework their syllabi.”

Dr. Das shared another reason the IPA is important to professors.

“In graduate school, we aren’t taught to teach – we are taught to be scholars and do research,” she said. “We haven’t been taught to create a syllabus that is accessible to all students with different learning skills.”

With the help of the faculty co-chairs, each team will identify the series of courses they would like to design or redesign, and begin the administrative process to implement changes by the end of spring semester 2020. This process will continue in the fall with new courses or redesigned courses released in spring semester 2021.

Eligibility Information

The 2019-20 inaugural cohort will consist of up to 18 interdisciplinary faculty participants who will take part in cohort meetings over the course of 18 months, as well as smaller meetings with those from their department and a facilitator. There will be optional participation in discussion groups during the summer months.

Teams should include three faculty applicants from your department/school including:

  • The curriculum chair or proxy (member of the curriculum committee)
  • Tenure track and instructional faculty, and a faculty member from a regional campus if possible.

Dr. Wyatt said the program is not looking for the individual faculty member who is looking to change their course, but rather a group of faculty members who can have an amplifying effect.

“Three faculty members, with at least one being a curriculum chair or curriculum committee representative, is the goal,” she said. “We need enough people to make a difference and have good conversations where we can discuss and share ideas.”

Dr. Murray further explained why the program has a team-based approach.

“The team approach is best because of the power of having multiple people in an area working together,” she said. “They can bounce ideas off each other and possibly make far-ranging impact within an area. It won’t be just one class that’s changing, but we’ll be looking at the multitude of ways that we can infuse inclusive pedagogy into multiple avenues in a department or school.”

Applicants can submit the team and individual components to their chair/director and also must submit a joint statement that is a brief one-page rationale that reflects:

  • The current status of inclusive teaching within one’s school/department/division
  • Your team’s goals in participating in the Inclusive Pedagogy Academy
  • The composition of the team

Applications should be provided to the chair/director, and the chair/director should submit the applications with a letter of support to inclusive.pedagogy@ohio.edu by Dec. 1. Applicants will be notified of their status on Dec. 10.

For more information, visit the IPA website at https://www.ohio.edu/instructional-innovation/ctl/programs-and-events/inclusive-pedagogy-academy.html